Solving the IP housing problem

The report on New Zealand's NGI initiative proposes the network deliver not less than two 1Gbit/s ethernet channels on a single mode fibre to each access point.

The report on New Zealand’s NGI initiative proposes the network deliver not less than two 1Gbit/s ethernet channels on a single mode fibre to each access point.

“The required customer equipment will be a router interface, presenting a single MAC address. The router must be capable of IPv4, IPv6 and BGP/4,” the report says.

The demand for routers that support both version 4 and 6 of the internet protocol represents the assumption that the long-awaited standard will arrive at some point. (BGP-4 is the current exterior routing protocol used for the global internet.)

IPv6 offers many advances on IPv4, the present version; most notably, it provides a solution to the looming problem of a shortage of IP addresses.

IPv4 addresses are made up of 32 bits, which means when four billion of them are in use, no more will be able to be issued.

A US analyst was quoted recently as saying China uses just 19 million IP addresses, yet Stamford University alone has 17 million, reflecting the fact the internet and IP were developed in the US and most addresses issued there. With net use growing rapidly in countries like China and India, there soon won’t be enough to go around.

IPv6 would solve that problem, as its addresses are 128-bit, meaning trillions of addresses can be allocated.

Trillions may be needed, not only for growth in internet use in populous countries, but for the burgeoning number of mobile devices that can be connected to the net. Many believe that not only will notebooks, PDAs and cellphones have IP addresses, but so will fridges, cars and other everyday objects.

A special version of IPv6, MIPv6, has been developed to support wireless devices; like IPv6, it allows the same IP address to be maintained if the user movers to a different subnet, whereas today, if a PC or mobile device is disconnected then re-connected, a new IP address has to be allocated.

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